In The Crucible, how does Danforth's character demonstrate hypocrisy in the Puritan culture?
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In The Crucible, Governor Danforth is filled with pride. He cannot admit he has been wrong about the hangings of innocent people. Danforth will not reverse his decision about hanging people who appear to not be guilty. Danforth with his Puritan pride is nothing but a self righteous man who has a superior attitude. He believes himself to be superior and more religious than others. He is hypocritical in his sense of believing teenage girls over grown adults who have proved to have good character.
When the evidence proves Proctor and the others are innocent, Danforth will not reverse his decision which is to hang them. He is more concerned about his pride. He is worried that a reversed decision will make the court appear foolish and confused. He is more concerned about his reputation than he is sparing innocent lives:
Although, like Hale, he is presented with considerable evidence that Proctor and the others are innocent, he refuses to grant them clemency. He argues that it would reflect badly on the court if he released prisoners after executing a number of people accused of the same crimes—regardless of their innocence.
Danforth is a stubborn man. He is a hypocrite in that he will not allow his ego to be deflated. He sees no flexibility in the law and he is allowing innocent people to hang. He would rather innocent people die than to appear wrong about his court room decisions. He is a staunch Puritan who sees evil behind every action, no matter how innocent a person may be. His pride and position will not allow him to reverse a previous decision even though he knows Proctor and the others are innocent.
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